Tag Archives: feta

Better than a Greek restaurant Spanakopita

I recently had spanakopita in a Greek restaurant, and I promise this version is better than anywhere I’ve ever had it. Except maybe in Greece. If you make this and know of a place that makes it better, let me know. I’ll be there tomorrow.

Better than a Greek restaurant Spanakopita: Ingredients
5 10oz boxes frozen chopped spinach (Birds Eye brand is best)
2 8oz bricks of Athenos feta cheese
1 16oz tub cottage cheese (2% milk or less)
1/2 tsp dill (I don’t like dill, so I don’t use it. Add it to the spinach mix if you want)
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 large white onion, diced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, unseasoned
1 sleeve/pack filo dough
1 tsp olive oil

A few hours ahead of making Directions:
1. If you buy phyllo dough frozen, thaw it out.
2. Unwrap the boxes of spinach, place in a bowl and thaw them out. When they are un-frozen, squeeze out the water in a colander.
3. Saute diced onion and green onions in some olive oil for 3-4 minutes, or until a little golden and set aside to cool.

When everything is unthawed/cooled Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
2. In a large bowl, mix spinach, cottage cheese, bread crumbs and onions together. Crumble in the feta.
3. Pam a 14×9 glass baking dish .
4. Roll out the phyllo dough and place a sheet on the bottom of the pan. Spray each layer w/ Pam… or brush some olive oil/melted butter on each layer. Do this a 3-5 times to create a bottom layer.
5. Drop the spinach mix in the to the baking dish and spread/even out.
6. Add 5-7 layers of phyllo on top of the mixture, still Pam’ing/buttering each layer including the top.
7. Bake for 45mins-1 hour. If it looks dry, you can reduce the oven temp to about 300° after about 45mins.

Don’t let rolling out phyllo dough scare you, Youtube to the rescue here to teach you have to roll it out. I can’t say I really know how considering my Mom made this whole thing from start to finish. Thanks Mom!

This is best served with a greek salad… those I haven’t been able to make better than a Greek restaurant or Greece.

All the single ladies, part II.

When I’m making dinner for only myself, I like to eat things Brent wouldn’t eat. Artichokes that are not accompanied by the words “spinach” and “dip” are on his list of things he’ll pass on. So I made one of my favorite dishes the other night: Artichoke Gratin.

I don’t think gratin is really the right word for this recipe; it’s really more like fresh artichokes w/garlic, wine and parsley tastes with a nice crust that tastes a little winey. I guess saying “gratin” is easier.

Artichoke Gratin adapted from this Giada de Laurentiis recipe

The Ingredient List
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
.5 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I used italian seasoned)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Warm the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the artichoke hearts, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook until the artichoke hearts are starting to brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes.

3. Transfer the artichoke mixture to a Pam’d 2-quart baking dish.

4. Melt the butter in the same skillet used to cook the artichokes. In a small bowl mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan and top the artichokes with the bread crumbs. Bake until the top is golden, about 10 minutes.

I usually eat this, since it’s supposed to be a side dish with a salad but I tried something different this time: putting feta cheese on top of a tiny baguette and putting it under the broiler. WIN! 

This tastes good with a glass of white wine too. Duh.

Greek-ish Cous Cous, revisited.

Another backyard party is in my near future, and I just need to remind you about the deliciousness that is my Greek-ish Cous Cous. This is one of my go-to recipes, because I usually have everything on hand, and everyone pretty much likes it. It’s lemon-y and summer-y.

Will these pictures entice you to get up and make this dish?

Greekish-Israeli Couscous Salad: The Ingredient List
1 box Israeli Couscous (Trader Joe’s brand is the best)
3-4 T red onion, diced
2 T italian (flat-leaf) fresh parsley, chopped small
2-4oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 a lemon’s juice
2-3 T red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt + pepper

Directions

1. Mix lemon juice, vinegar and a tad bit of salt and pepper together in a bowl. If you like olive oil, go ahead and add about a tablespoon to the mix.

2. Follow cooking instructions on the Israeli Couscous box.  Add cooked couscous to the bowl containing the dressing. Toss with the vinegar/lemon juice and let it cool down for about 20 minutes in the fridge. I like to stir it around a few times to make sure there is enough dressing on the thing as the couscous will absorb the dressing as it cools.
3. Add the onion, parsley, and feta cheese. Add more lemon juice/vinegar if needed. If you have any other veggies (tomatoes! cucumbers! olives!) that you like, throw them in!

You can also try to use 1 serving of Trader Joe’s brand Ancient Harvest Grain blend, I like it even better than plain Cous Cous.

Falafel + Greek-ish couscous

You get a twofer today! Not that Toofer, but two recipes in one!

Last night our pal Megan had a birthday potluck. Brent + I spent a large portion of the day doing exactly what we wanted… which was not much other than catching up on the DVR, complaining about where Spring went (it snowed Friday night) and looking around town at vintage shops for a birthday gift. After all that excitement, it was time to get cooking!

I love falafel, but it is often fried and gets a bad rap as being unhealthy. The recipe I made is very healthy, easy and best of all, a very inexpensive recipe!  I made a modified version of a Ellie Krieger’s falafel recipe which can be found here.

Falafel
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 squeeze lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley leaves
1 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Combine all felafel ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Stop motor and scrape down sides of bowl, then pulse for another 10 seconds, until all ingredients are well incorporated but mixture is still slightly coarse and grainy.

this mini chop rules. i'll upgrade to the full size food processor one day!

3. Form mixture into 12-16 falafel balls and spritz with Pam or brush with olive oil.

all in the oven

4. Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes, flip falafel balls and bake an additional 20 minutes, until falafel balls are crisp and browned.

The recipe doesn’t make too many falafel balls, so I’d highly recommend doubling it if you are serving these at a party. To make up for the lack of falafel to go around, I decided to make one of my old staples. A couscous salad of sorts.

I had Israeli Couscous on hand, but this works awesome with quinoa, faro, orzo or regular couscous.

Greekish-Israeli Couscous Salad: The Ingredient List
1 box Israeli Couscous (Trader Joe’s brand is the best!)
3-4 T red onion, diced
2 T italian (flat-leaf) fresh parsley, chopped small
2-4oz crumbled feta cheese
1/2 a lemon’s juice
2-3 T red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt + pepper

1. Mix lemon juice, vinegar and a tad bit of salt and pepper together in a bowl. If you like olive oil, go ahead and add about a tablespoon to the mix.
2. Follow cooking instructions on the Israeli Couscous box.  Add cooked couscous to the bowl containing the dressing. Toss with the vinegar/lemon juice and let it cool down for about 20 minutes in the fridge. I like to stir it around a few times to make sure there is enough dressing on the thing as the couscous will absorb the dressing as it cools.
3. Add the onion, parsley, and feta cheese. Add more lemon juice/vinegar if needed. If you have any other veggies (tomatoes! cucumbers! olives!) that you like, throw them in!

I like to eat the falafel on top of this salad, or wrapped in a pita w/ some salad and lettuce for an awesome lunch or dinner.

Both of these recipes are very easy and are party hits! Feel free to leave out the cheese in the couscous to make it vegan. What’s your favorite thing to bring to a party?

Pasta Please.

I used to be anti-pasta. I think I overdosed on it especially during my undergraduate days- thanks mostly to my BFF turned roommate Jamie who enjoyed a giant bowl of pasta every night around midnight. Pasta began to bore me so I just quit buying it and seeking it out. Two years ago, another pal, Kate, wanted to make some post-yoga healthy food and printed out the most popular vegetarian recipe from Allrecipes.com.

This recipe renewed my faith in pasta. It also made me like mushrooms. It is very easy to make and really quite healthy. It is awesome. I recommend you drop everything you are doing and try this recipe right now. Or call me and I’ll make it for you. I’m serious.

Suki’s Spinach + Feta Pasta (adapted from Allrecipes.com)

The Ingredient List:

  • 8 oz package pasta (1/2 a box, any kind works but I like rotini, penne, butterfly or capatavi)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 8oz package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 4-5 cups fresh spinach leaves, packed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T red pepper flakes
  • 8 -10 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

1. Chop garlic, onion, tomatoes and mushrooms. This recipe makes about 6 pretty big portions so invite a sous-chef over or have your live-in-dummy chop for you since he has Fridays off. (Thanks Brent!) Also- my friend Kate has used 2 cans of diced tomatoes in place of fresh and said that works, but that fresh tomatoes taste better. I recommend fresh- but to save time/money you can for sure use canned.

so artsy!

2.Heat 1T olive oil in a large skillet (we used our electric wok- normal!) over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and cook until golden brown.

Garlic + Onion= not for Maebys.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente- I do one minute less than whatever the directions on the box says. I also only use whole grain, whole wheat or pasta plus these days. These pastas actually have some taste to them, and I prefer them now. Bonus: they are healthier. After your past is done cooking, drain it and set it aside.

3. Mix in tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach. The original recipe calls for only 2 cups of spinach, but spinach is a superfood and we (even Maeby) can’t get enough of it. Season with a pinch of salt + pepper. Cook 5-7 minutes or until tomatoes are heated through and spinach is wilted.

spinach before

spinach after- probably should have added MORE!

4. Reduce heat to medium, stir in pasta, feta cheese, 1T red pepper flakes. I start with adding an 8 oz package of feta cheese and see if that coats the pasta enough. I will often add another once or two if it looks a little dry.

5. Cook for about 5 or until heated through/feta and veggies create a sauce.

You can add a full box of pasta if you want to stretch this recipe out, but I like vegetables a lot better than I like pasta, even after my pasta rebirth.

We ate and watched some DVR’d 30 Rock…which I also highly recommend. And, this might come as a shock, but we ate this with a salad. And I plan on eating any leftovers with one too. What would you eat this with?

Pizza Party*!

We almost ordered a pizza on Friday, but then got a text that our neighbor-pals wanted to go out. Then I missed a text (by 2 hours) that my friends were at a place with great pizza down the street. Ok, universe. I’ll make my own!

Getting/going out for pizza is fine sometimes, but once you make it at home – and I don’t mean frozen pizza- you won’t often go back. You can top your pizza with exactly what you. Want tomatoes but not a ton, fine, do it! Go get your dough and try it out.

I have tried lots of pre-made dough, and most are just fine, but the best one I’ve tried yet has been from Great Harvest. I love going there on the weekends and getting a sample of bread and picking up a dough ball. They sell both white and wheat, and the last time I  went with wheat. The wheat has more fiber, is better for you and tastes awesome.

Just like most of the dishes I make, this one contained pretty much what I had on hand:

My Ingredient List:

1 wheat dough ball
1/4 c. diced white onion
1/2 c. baby spinach
1/4 c. feta cheese
1/4 c. tomato
4 oz shredded mozzarella
5 artichoke hearts (chopped)
1 clove garlic
1 packet of pizza sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
flour to roll out the dough

To make this pizza extra perfect I would have loved to had some mushrooms, green pepper and basil to put on top but there will always be a next time.

To start, go by whatever the instructions on your dough say. I had to let my dough sit out for 2 hours, and then get to rolling in it into my desired shape.

Flour the table + rolling pin first, then roll!

Sometimes you have to stretch it a little by hand.

I then put the dough on an Pam-sprayed circular cookie sheet to rise for 10 minutes. After that, I popped it in a 350º oven for 15 minutes as per instructions. The entire house smelled like homemade bread baking… amazing.

I then sauced the pizza using a packet of Boboli sauce- I really like these because they are individually packaged to fit on a large pizza, nothing goes to waste. On top of the sauce I first add the chopped garlic, then the spinach, and then all of the other vegetables. I only put the artichoke hearts on half as my partner in pizza eating crime Brent doesn’t enjoy those.

I like the toppings under the cheese... for no reason.

After the toppings, put the mozzarella and feta on top, and sprinkle with dried oregano. Then, place into the already very pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. After everything looks done, I like to put my pizza under the broiler to brown the cheese a bit.

If I cook during the day, maybe I wont have to use my flash...

While that was cooking, I had to think up what I wanted to eat with this. While it is veggie-heavy, I needed something else. I really wanted to make a salad to go with this, but Brent found some carrots that only had a few days of life left. Since I hate wasting food, and the oven was already on so I decided to make some roasted carrots.

Take 4 or 5 carrots, peel them and then chop them into 1/4-1/2-inch wide by 3″ long sticks. (Or, however big you want them!) Put them on a Pam’d pan and sprinkle with salt + pepper and stick ’em in the oven at 350-400º for about 15 minutes. If you like these on the crispy side, broil them for a bit right at the end.

Ready for the oven.

Although carrots + pizza don’t sound like a typical combo, I’d have to recommend it. Try it.

*Ok, there wasn’t a party.